Articles by Wade Rowland on communications technology, philosophy of science and religion, travel and other topics, including some scholarly articles.

Post-Christmas thoughts about the CBC’s future

Posted by on Dec 29, 2017 in Articles-Blog, uncategorized | 0 comments

A visit to Lyon last week got me thinking about how dominant religions absorb and erase competing rites and traditions. France’s second city has been an important focus of Catholicism from the first century onward, but before that Lyon was a centre of worship of the Roman god Mithra. Scholars are divided as to the extent of early Christian syncretic borrowings from the cult and traditions of Mithraism, but other pagan appropriations are in plain view around Christmas time. The streets of old Lyon were festooned with coloured lights and pine boughs, traditions which derive from pre-Christian...

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Trudeau Needs to Rethink his Position on Funding for Media

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Articles-Blog, uncategorized | Comments Off on Trudeau Needs to Rethink his Position on Funding for Media

As Ottawa takes steps to enlarge Canada’s role in international relations, promising a 70% increase in defense spending over the next decade, Canadians may be inclined to feel a bit more secure in a world that seems more chaotic and threatening by the day. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrysta Freeland’s assertive address to Parliament earlier this month on diplomacy in the era of Trumpism, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s policy statement and spending proposals the following day were both generally well-received as expensive but necessary frameworks for the preservation of national...

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Mansbridge’s exit opens the door to a new kind of newscast on CBC

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Articles-Blog | 0 comments

Nothing in Peter Mansbridge’s three-decade tenure as CBC news anchor so graphically illustrates the problem with television news as his manner of leaving. Mansbridge announced Monday night that he’s “let the CBC know that I’d like to step down from The National next July 1st, shortly after anchoring our very special Canada Day coverage for 2017.”  The term and conditions of his departure were clearly his choice. In the CBC’s official news release, Jennifer McGuire says: “Peter has been paramount to making CBC News the most trusted brand in news in this country. We...

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CRTC Bans Ads on Radio 2: Could TV be Next?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2016 in Articles-Blog | Comments Off on CRTC Bans Ads on Radio 2: Could TV be Next?

      Here is the good news: the CRCT has ordered CBC/Radio-Canada to end paid advertising on Radio 2 and ICI Musique. The ban begins immediately. The bad news is that CBC management still seems to think it was doing the right thing when it opened the two radio networks to commercial sponsorship three years ago, with the CRTC’s wary agreement. A corporate spokesperson said Wednesday the withdrawal of permission shows “a lack of understanding about the reality of public broadcasting,” and “does not help CBC/Radio-Canada serve Canadians.” But the “reality” of public...

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Canadians Joined at The Hip, By CBC

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Articles-Blog | Comments Off on Canadians Joined at The Hip, By CBC

The CBC’s decision to air the Tragically Hip’s farewell concert Saturday was a stroke of public broadcasting genius. Better than almost any event one could imagine, it demonstrated the power of a national public broadcaster to bring a nation together to celebrate its shared values, to honour its prodigies, to connect. Preliminary ratings suggest that 11.7 million of us watched or listened to some or all of the three-hour concert in Kingston. That’s what’s known as “reach” in the industry. The show was available on CBC television, CBC Radio One, Radio 2, and Éspace Musique, as...

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Bell Media, Canada AM, and the Public Interest

Posted by on Jun 5, 2016 in Articles-Blog, uncategorized | Comments Off on Bell Media, Canada AM, and the Public Interest

Bell Media’s brusque announcement that it is killing Canada AM represents more than the loss of a morning news and current affairs program with a 40-year legacy. It is further evidence that private television, now in the hands of a clutch of corporate behemoths, is no longer in the business of serving the public interest. It may come as a surprise to some readers that in law and regulation, the federal government continues to regard the entire Canadian broadcasting system as a public service-oriented enterprise. Under the current Broadcasting Act, responsibility for providing citizens with...

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